Ash Barty has won the Adelaide International over the weekend, claiming her first WTA title on home soil. The Adelaide International, a new tournament for 2020 that replaced the Sydney International.
She secured her win in straight sets 6-2, 7-5 against 19-year-old Ukranian opponent Dayana Yastremska.
— Simeon Thomas-Wilson (@Simeon_TW) January 18, 2020
Her victory in Adelaide is the first by an Australian woman in Australia since 2011 when Jarmila Wolfe won the Hobart International.
“This is incredible, a great start to the year,” Barty told reporters post-championship. “ I love playing in Australia, I love playing at home. It’s been incredible for my team to enjoy this week.”
Barty takes home $146,500 in prize money and sets up an ideal position leading up to her Australian Open campaign, which begins on Monday night, when she faces World No. 120 Lesia Tsurenko on Rod Laver Arena.
Speaking to reporters in Adelaide, she has credited her “incredible family, mum and dad, my sisters” who keep her “ very level-headed.”
“I think that’s the most amazing thing. It really doesn’t matter whether I win or lose a tennis match, whether I was playing tennis or I wasn’t,” she said.
“That’s the love and that’s the comfort that you need. It just so happened that we have had some incredible results and have been riding on this kind of incredible journey with my professional team, who are also my family. I am a very lucky girl to be surrounded by such people.”
She also expressed gratitude for playing in her home country.
“I definitely feel the love out here. I love playing in Australia. It was nice to get the balling rolling this week … and I can’t wait to get started in Melbourne on Monday.”
It’s been 42 years since an Australian female tennis player has claimed the Australian Open. Christine “Chris” O’Neil was just 22 years old when she took the crown in 1978.
Barty is the second favourite to win the Open, behind Serena Williams, who won the Auckland Classic last week. At last year’s Australian Open, Barty was defeated in the quarter finals by Petra Kvitová.
Sportsbooks list Williams as the favourite, followed by Barty and Japan’s Naomi Osaka coming in third. The last time a woman took the Open crown back to back was also the only time it ever happened, in 2009 and 2010, by none other than Williams. Osaka will try to accomplish that feat when the year’s first major begins on Monday from Melbourne Park.
World number Simona Halep is another contender. The 28-year old Romanian was a finalist in the 2018 Open and is coached by Aussie super-coach Darren Cahill, who coached the likes of Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt.
World number 2 Karolina Pliskova is also another name to watch, after taking the Brisbane International title earlier this month, becoming the first player ever to win the event three times.
The 27-year old Czech made it all the way to the semi-finals last year of the Australian Open, where she was beaten by fellow Czech Petra Kvitová.